Writers on the edge

by David E P Dennis When I was a lot younger than I am now and sitting in the French language class at Hastings Grammar School, the tutor, wearing his university gown and coloured mantle, produced some French literature and asked us to translate it. Cluelessly I staggered through it. I remarked aloud that it was quite difficult to understand and the tutor, or master as he was called, explained that it was not surprising as it had been written by a madman. Up to that point I had not realised that some people were ‘mad’. Now I am older I…

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A Bloomsbury lotus

A controversial view of the Bloomsbury intellectual saga By David E P Dennis Many people have heard the phrase ‘The Bloomsbury Group’. English society seems to have an echo of ‘clubability’ even now. We like the Pre-Raphaelites but we don’t like ‘The Right Club’ or the ‘Cambridge Apostles’ (some of them anyway) and certainly the word ‘Bullingdon’ raises hackles and ire. Who are these people who set themselves up above the rest? The accepted list of people who were members of the Group is plain to see. Here’s a list in alphabetical order: Clive Bell (1881 to 1964) Vanessa Bell (1879…

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The Literati Glitterati of Chichester

By David E P Dennis Do you know which prominent supporters of the literary arts and crafts have been associated with Chichester? They may have been born in the city, lived and worked there, or died there.  In this article we look at some of the notable or notorious personalities and their lives down the ages. If you are a Chichester writer who is not mentioned here, then please work on your notability not your notoriety and we’ll list you next time! John Bullokar (1574-1627) – Lexicographer John was an English physician and lexicographer. He was born in St Andrew’s…

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Dante comes to Hastings

THE PRE-RAPHAELITES By David E P Dennis Many people know the story of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, who signed themselves cryptically as PRB. They were not Cambridge Apostle spies, but artists who wanted to break the dreary mould of English Art. The founders of the art movement were Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and John Everett Millais. Hunt was born in 1827, Rossetti in 1828, and Millais in 1829, so it is easy to see how they could share the same views. Hunt was staid, quiet and not as talented as the other two. He was born into a humble home,…

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Women and writing

This is the first of a series of essays on writing and literature where we deliberately set out to make you think – the consequences are that some of what you might read from us will be controversial – you won’t agree. That is good. Let us know if you agree or not and any other thoughts you have about the subject. Written by David Dennis – edited by Isabel Dennis When writing fact or fiction is there a special role for women that is not available to male writers? Could it be that women are better at discerning the emotional…

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